Volunteers Grocery Shop for Those Who Cannot

Khaola Majeed with Geoben from ACO // photo courtesy of Facebook group

Facebook Group Allows Volunteers in Plano and Allen to Shop for Those Too Vulnerable

Nida Rehman is originally from Wagga Wagga, Australia, but she’s lived in Texas for 15 years now, photographing weddings for a living. When the coronavirus pandemic hit North Texas and things began to look dire, Nida tried to retain a semblance of normal life with her husband and two kids in their Allen home. Still, she immediately thought of her elderly neighbor who would certainly be vulnerable to COVID-19.

“I went to check up on my next-door neighbor. I just wanted to make sure she was doing okay. She was hesitant at first, but ended up asking if I could do a grocery store run for her. I said, ‘of course,’” Nida shared.

Nida realized there had to be others in the same boat as her neighbor, people who cannot safely shop for groceries or run errands.

Shopper Marrianne Brito // photos courtesy of Facebook group

So she started the Facebook group “Allen/Plano COVID-19 Grocery/Supply Support for the most vulnerable” on March 15. Through the group, volunteers sign up to deliver groceries to anyone especially vulnerable right now, including those who are elderly, have pre-existing health issues or have lost their jobs and simply can’t afford groceries. 

“There are a lot of elderly people out there that we have to keep safe, and this is one of the best ways to do it,” said Nida.

In three weeks, the Facebook group has helped more than 90 families and raised $14,000. Nida’s close friend Christina Cheng has also been instrumental to the effort since the very start.

Shopper Christina Cheng

So, how does the service work?

For an individual who can afford the groceries, that person fills out a form on the Facebook group. A volunteer calls them to find out how they want to pay. After looking over what the individual needs, the volunteer calculates the cost and charges the individual in advance. The volunteer will shop at the store, then leave the groceries on the doorstep along with the receipt. The volunteer gives the individual a call to let them know the groceries are there. Any money not spent is then returned.

For an individual who cannot afford the groceries, that person applies through a nonprofit organization that already has information on the person. The Facebook group has worked with clients of Emily’s Place and Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation. It is typically a case worker who fills out the form for the individual.

Shopper Kanishk Adarkar

The Facebook group has also partnered with other organizations to supply groceries. On March 31, volunteers did a run for Allen Community Outreach (ACO) that provided meals for 1,000 people. “We had 11 runners deliver 1,596 pounds of groceries to ACO – diapers, canned food, all kinds of essentials that vulnerable people can’t get for themselves right now,” Nida said.

“I’m blessed that I can work from home, but there are so many people living paycheck to paycheck. They’re struggling. I just want to help them, and this is the best way to do that,” Nida shared.

If you would like to volunteer as a shopper, sign up here: bit.ly/corona-grocery-volunteer

If you are in need of a grocery delivery, sign up here: bit.ly/corona-grocery-run or call 972-984-8335.

If you would like to donate funds for those who cannot afford groceries right now, send a donation through Venmo to @nida-rehman or though Paypal to nida@photographer.net. Call her in advance at 972-984-8335 to let her know you’ll be donating.

Grocery Shopping Facebook Group >
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